Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 3 of the ACR Conference

To confess, I'm back at my home base but I wanted to blog about Day 3 of the ACR Conference. The schedule was so hectic that I didn't have time to write during or after the day!

The day started off with the annual membership meeting. Discussions centered around the use of committees, malpractice insurance, certification of mediators (the family law section will be the first to experiment with this issue), the approval of the strategic plan (with a sharing of the vision statement, mission statement, and overall goals for the organization), how we can help with the foreclosure mess, and the use of civilian conflict resolvers in areas where the US is engaged.

I attended a session about "Getting Parties to the Table", focusing on how to explain the mediation process to folks. Later in the day was a session on the caucus vs. joint session in a commercial mediation. That was an instructive session because, despite two different mediators using two different approaches, the parties reached almost the same resolution to their issues. There's something to be learned there about mediators getting out of the way and being facilitators of solutions, and not imposing solutions. I ended the day with a fascinating class put on by Jennifer Kresge about "The Art of the Question." Despite the title of the seminar, it became clear that asking good questions is an art and science. A strategic question has the opportunity to create value, truth, understanding, experience, perceptions, collaboration, angst, and interest. Wow. Who would have thought?

Overall, the conference was solid. Very good presenters. Well organized. Nice to be around folks who want to promote resolving conflicts.